《AFTER LIFE, Loved Clothes Last》

《AFTER LIFE, Loved Clothes Last》

Kay Wong’s solo upcycled artwork exhibition commissioned by Tzu Chi Environmental Action Centre,
2nd October 2022- 15th January 2023.

The marriage between Man and Nature is a constant struggle. Human greed yearns for neverending “economic growth” ultimately leading to global warming, rising sea levels, and the destruction of nature. If nature dies, we die. Are we still going to continue this way of life and be doomed, or is there an alternative that will allow us to reverse this status quo and bring the planet back to a BLOOMING state?

Emphasizing the themes of RESTORATION, REGENERATION and RECONCILIATION, all artwork seen in this exhibition have been INSPIRED BY THE EXPIRED, only re-created through reclaiming, upcycling and taking what sheds from nature and what is abandoned by man.

We live in a world where we're encouraged to desire the new, where youth and perfection are constantly promoted; where speed, convenience and cost are prioritized over sustainability and connection. Everything is made and delivered at an alarming rate, from fast food to fast fashion.

I believe we can learn from the Japanese philosophy of "Mottainai" and "Wabisabi", which values and celebrates the process of ageing and the imperfections that come with it. instead of buying new, we can choose to care for the old; we can choose to repair and the repair itself can add to the beauty of the object.

"Mottainai" loosely means 'not to waste', a gentle call to prolong the life and use of something that might otherwise be discarded, even the smallest scrap can have value. Materials should be reclaimed and reused rather than discarded.

Most people forget that every piece of clothing is lovingly made by a number of humans, and of course with the help of the sun, rain, soil and earth. From farmer, to spinner, dyer, weaver, to designer, pattern cutter, tailor and seamstresses, there is a tribe of people dedicated to create clothing behind the scene.

Can we not, all collectively, think more about the after life of garments we own, to keep giving it a new life, repairing, rewearing and passing things on? Can we not change the lens we see clothing, so as not to waste? Mottainai. Our clothing carries with us our stories, our history, the marks we make in life, kind of like our diary. The work you see in this exhibition had all been re-created from previously garments, textiles and material that had been abandoned, defects and offcuts from factories, transformed and upcycled numerous times into clothing, into costumes, into set design, the cycle never ends. Come join our repair and mending workshops to experience slow fashion with us.
Hi, I'm Kay, fashion designer turned green artivist. After 10 years of chasing trends and flogging collections in the international fashion scene, a personal tragedy made my world grind to a halt. I found myself left with an empty heart and a studio filled with production waste. 
During my journey of piecing myself back together again, I picked up other pieces of life's debris along the way - objects abandoned, imperfect, reclaimed. As I dusted off these salvaged treasures and weaved them into art, so did my own cracks begin to mend.
I'm now on a mission to create zero-waste art and design, to show people the true cost of overconsumption, and to play my very small (but hopefully significant) part in being a gentler member of Planet Earth.